Five years ago, I was coming to realize we were the parents of what some might call a strong-willed child. And so, when I went to a motherhood conference called Hearts at Home that year, I made sure to check the box for a seminar on parenting a strong-willed child. It was led by John and Kendra Smiley, and their own (now grown) strong-willed child, Aaron. Turns out they'd written a book together. I took copious notes and bought the book immediately, if not before.
A month or so later, we experienced what we (now) affectionately call "The Showdown," which involved a four-day standoff while our strong-willed child decided whether or not she would apologize to her grandma for disrespectful behavior. We won, but without encouragement from the Smileys, we probably wouldn't have stuck it out.
Anyway, after all this went down, I felt compelled to contact Kendra. Not that I expected her to answer – after all, she's an author, she's on the radio, she's just about famous – but I just wanted to let her know how profoundly her experience had encouraged us. So I did. And she responded! And she was lovely and fun and chock-full of wisdom.
Over the next five years, we continued to email and talk, she and her husband John became speakers at the Farm Progress Show, columnists in Prairie Farmer, we taught a Sunday School class based on another of their books, they spoke at our church, they stayed at our house, and our strong-willed child thinks Kendra might be the coolest person on the planet. Ha – if only she knew all the things Kendra taught us about her!
So today I am thankful for wisdom, and for people like Kendra Smiley who are willing to share what they've learned in life. She's been a blessing in our family.
Thanks & Giving Day 22: History